Yitingting Cottage is located in mountain area of Tonglu, 300 kilometers southwest of Shanghai. This project functions as a reservation-only lounge and dining room of a countryside hospitality complex. Originally on the site was a two-story folk house made of rammed earth. According to the village rules and regulations, the newly built cannot go beyond the original footprint and height. That means the new building can only be the size of a normal living room. Blocked on all sides, it has little access to scenery, with not too much design potential. Given such a small space, what else can we think of? Village style? Structural expression? Façade mannerism? Furniture selection? It took us some time to realize that it is the wall of the courtyard that is the real boundary of our senses. We do not merely make the room facing the courtyard but tried to bring the garden inside as part of the lounge. At the ground floor, the building itself is weakened; all things were treated as equal elements: staircase, washroom, dumbwaiter, basin, furniture, plants, soil … and even the flooring and doors. We studied the placement of these components and made them scattered while holistic. It was a piecemeal feeling. Sliding doors at the front can be all opened, leaving only a screen door whenever needed. Due to the limited width of the gauze, two pieces of gauzes were combined with a slightly curved reed-like metal bar. Stepping up to the second floor, people are immediately hugged by an identified form in dim light. When dining, only the table itself is illuminated. A portion of the bamboo grove was cropped out by the window frame, with no beginning or end, taking on an abstract look. The structure of the second floor is lantern-like. This secondary structure of battens is circled and fixed on the central wooden keels. The keels are then fastened onto the concrete structure at the top and bottom. insulation material and sound-absorbing cotton are installed in the middle. On the ground level, there are two courtyards, the outer one and the inner one. The outer bright one contains a twisted route with saturated plants towards the gate of the cottage. The inner shadowy one is a tranquil place at the back. The lounge is surrounded by plants, which are controlled with similar sizes together with other architectural objects. These all, on the ground floor, become a uniform entirety. It is our intention to create two distinct atmospheres in the building, which probably stems from a paranoid image – At the end of a secluded courtyard, there is a “one-story building”, and people outside cannot see what is happening inside the fence. Although this building stands tall, it does not look around.
Based in shanghai, genarchitects was founded in 2013, under the leadership of three principals, Fan Beilei, Kong Rui and Xue Zhe. Whether in urban or natural environment, genarchitects insists focusing on the genuineness of designing and constructing. We believe that we could offer a calm and sincere answer towards complicated and uncertain reality situations by discreetly dealing with site and functional requirements.
The completed works of genarchitects have been published and exhibited widely, including Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, Sino-Europe Invitational Architectural Exhibition 2020 and Contemporary Chinese Architecture Exhibition at Harvard GSD 2016.
The principals serve as visiting lecturers at Tongji University, and also served as guest critics at Southeast University, Tianjin University. Meanwhile, they are invited to give lectures at various institutions, such as Tongji University, Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Power Station of Art Shanghai.
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